Supplements in the News

Folate Supplementation Is Still Inadequate Among Women
Published Wednesday, August 1, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas - A majority of women are still not supplementing with folic acid, despite encouragement from federal agencies to do so, with greater numbers of obese and non-white women failing to fight neural tube defects with the B vitamin. Up to 70 percent of neural tube defects of the brain and spinal cord can be prevented by consumption of folic acid by women before and early during pregnancy. A new study from the Texas Department of State Health Services compared folic acid supplementation rates among obese, overweight and normal-weight women (J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2007 Jul-Aug; 36(4)335-41). Among 6,835 study participants, 35 percent reported daily folic acid supplementation. Obese women were less likely to supplement, even after adjustment for other factors. Similar findings were recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which analyzed nutrient intake data reported by 1,685 non-pregnant women aged 15 to 49 years who participated in the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May; 85(5):1409-16). Only 8 percent of non-pregnant women reported consuming at least 400 mcg/d of folic acid from fortified foods; among non-Hispanic black women, the percentage fell to 5 percent, compared to 6.8 percent of Hispanic women and 8.9 percent of non-Hispanic white women. A smaller percentage of non-Hispanic black (19.1 percent) and Hispanic (21 percent) women than non-Hispanic white women (40.5 percent) consumed at least 400 mcg/d folic acid from fortified foods, supplements or both, in addition to food folate.

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